Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy From Avotaynu

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 46 | November 29, 2015

Every government puts value on preserving its history. That is why we have national archives. Genealogy preserves history; the history of a family. It cannot be done without access to records, just as historians cannot preserve a nation's history without access to records. It is a greater good than the right to privacy. It is a greater good than the risk of identity theft.

Past issues of Nu? What's New? are archived at
Underlined words are links to sites with additional information.

Reclaim The Records Gains Access to Index of 445,000 New Jersey Vital Records
Brooke Schreier Ganz, who founded the website Reclaim The Records, has done it again. Based on New Jersey access laws, she requested from the New Jersey State Archives copies of indexes to early 20th century vital records and the archives complied.

Reclaim The Records has acquired 29 microfilms containing indices to approximately 445,000 vital records:
   • NJ birth index 1901–1903 - approx. 100,000 records
   • NJ marriages (grooms index) 1901–1903 - approx. 44,000 records
   • NJ marriages (brides index) 1901–1914 - approx. 205,000 records
   • NJ death index 1901–1903 - approx. 96,000 records

These microfilms will be scanned and placed on the Internet in early 2016, with no restrictions as to their use. They have never been available outside of the Archives building in Trenton before. Additional information can be found at

Google Removes More Than 1M References at EU Request
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that Google has removed 1,234,092 entries from its site based on the European Union’s request that people have a “right to be forgotten.” This represents 42% of URLs removed. The top ten sites account for 9% of the removals. These sites include Facebook, Profileengine, Google Groups, YouTube, Badoo, Google plus, Annuaire (a French site), Twitter, Whereevent and

In one unusual case, Google removed an entry and a newspaper reported Google’s removal of the entry which Google, of course,  extracted. Google was forced to remove the second entry.

To read the report see

UK Asks for Public Consultation on 2021 Census
Jan Meisels Allen reports that the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) launched on June 4 a 12-week public consultation asking users for their views on topics to be included in the 2021 Census. The ONS posted to their website a summary of the almost 1,100 responses they received of which 592 were from genealogists. One of the main suggestions from genealogists was the request to include place of birth as a new subtopic for the 2021 census. This data item was last collected in 1951. Another suggestion from genealogists, but from much fewer respondents, was for maiden and/or former names. The summary report is at

Scotland. National Records of Scotland is also conducting consultations on the content to be included in their census. You can access the National Records of Scotland 2021 census consultation at It is open until January 15, 2016. Respond online at

Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency also launched a consultation. Cutoff date is December 17. 2015. Their information may be found at: You can respond online at:

American Jewish Historical Society-New England Archives Adds Two Databases
American Jewish Historical Society-New England Archives has added two new online databases: (1) Organized Jewish Group Activity in 19th-Century Massachusetts and (2) Jewish Cemeteries of Western Massachusetts.

“Organized Jewish Group Activity in 19th-Century Massachusetts” is a listing of all organized Jewish group activities that appeared in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts during the 19th century. The information in the database was originally compiled in 1979 on typewritten sheets. These sheets have now been digitized and indexed. Where possible, the founding or chartered date of the organization is provided, as well as the purpose, location of meetings, the length of the organization's lifespan, and a listing of the more prominent members and officials. There is a search engine at where you can search for an institution or an individual.

“Jewish Cemeteries of Western Massachusetts” contains records of more than 19,000 burials in 21 Jewish cemeteries in the Western Massachusetts counties of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire. Information in this database includes the name of the individual, name of the cemetery, plot number, and in some cases the dates of birth and death and the names of the parents and/or the spouse of the deceased. It can be searched at

FindMyPast Gives 75% Discount
We do not normally list discounts of interest to genealogists because they have become commonplace and often are not very significant, but FindMyPast is offering a 75% discount on its 12-month World subscription. Subscribe at pay?vouchercode=THNKSGNG15. The voucher code: THNKSGNG15 will be automatically applied. Code expires on November 30. The company has some unique collections; especially for the UK. For example, I found the arrival in England of a distant cousin on a Kindertransport in 1939.

All Lithuania Database Adds 59,123 Records
Genealogy requires volunteers to extract information and make it available on the Internet. If you do not already volunteer to work on a Jewish genealogical project, do so now. A good example of the success of this effort is the recent update to the All Lithuania Database which added a total of 59,123 new records. It includes revision lists, family lists, conscripts, taxpayer lists, passport issuance records, draft lists, craftsmen lists, evictions, melamed and pupil lists, elector lists, postal and state savings bank lists, births, marriages, divorces, deaths and internal passports.

At the same time as the announcement of this update, Litvak SIG is calling for volunteers for another project. Parliamentary elections were held by the Soviet Authorities in Lithuania on July 14-15 1940. Voter turnout was said to be 95 percent. The electorate included persons over the age of 21. A portion of the records of the city of Kaunas has been copied by a Litvak SIG member and now volunteers are needed to extract the information. Persons interested in contributing to the project should contact Dorothy Leivers, Records Acquisition,
LitvakSIG at

Reminder: Send Your Human Interest Stories to AVOTAYNU
We now are working on the Winter issue, which we call our “Human Interest” issue. In addition to publishing articles meant to expand your knowledge of Jewish genealogy and Jewish history, this issue publishes articles about the human side of genealogy.

Share such a story with AVOTAYNU subscribers. Write an article about how genealogy changed your life or how it affected the life of others. Deadline for submission this year has been extended to December 15, 2015. Submit your story by e-mail to When possible, illustrations should accompany the article.

Also in the Winter issue, AVOTAYNU lists Jewish genealogical family histories that have been published in the preceding 12 months. Books published earlier are also eligible for inclusion if they have not been previously reported. Please present information about the book in a specific format: author; title of book; years covered; brief description, including family names researched; libraries in which book has been deposited; price and ordering information. Submit the information by e-mail to The deadline date is also December 15.

Our Black Friday Offer: 6 issues of AVOTAYNU for Price of 4
Have you been missing out on important information regarding your family history research because you do not subscribe to our quarterly journal, AVOTAYNU? Subscriptions are on a calendar basis; therefore, if you subscribed to our journal today for one year, the first issue would not be available until next April. Consequently, for just one week, we are offering to Nu? What’s New? readers a six-issue subscription for only $38.00—the cost of a four-issue subscription. The usual price is $53—a $15 saving. The offer expires next Monday, December 7. Persons outside U.S. and Canada can subscribe for only $46 instead of $65, a $19 saving. Go to, place you order, and when checking out, use Coupon Code 6FOR4D for U.S./Canada and 6FOR4F for other countries. Become a subscriber to our quarterly journal which, for 31 years, has provided readers each year with more than 300 pages of useful, interesting information that can help you in your research.

Arthur Kurzweil once stated, “The single most significant development in the field of Jewish genealogy over the past decade has been the appearance of AVOTAYNU... (It) is essential for all Jewish genealogists. You must subscribe to it.”

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Click the Donate link. If you prefer, mail a check to Avotaynu Foundation,  794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
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